Open Source Java ESB Upgrade Adds DevOps, Cloud Features

Web-based middleware maker MuleSoft this week released a new version of the Mule Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). Mule ESB 3.1, available now, refines the company's nascent Mule Cloud Connect capabilities, and adds new orchestration features, a new management console and new collaborative capabilities.

With version 3.0, released in September, MuleSoft brought the enormously popular, light-weight Mule ESB and integration framework for Java into the cloud with the introduction of Mule Cloud Connect, a set of tools designed to allow developers to integrate enterprise data and applications with next generation SaaS, social media, and cloud-based Web applications. Version 3.1 refines those capabilities and adds a new Mule Cloud Connect Development Toolkit designed to help developers to create new cloud connectors with no need for any knowledge of the underlying integration platform.

"Every ESB has this problem where it requires people who understand the ESB to actually build these connectors," said Mateo Almenta Reca, senior product manager for Mule ESB. "This release automates a bunch of things that are Mule related that people don't need to know about. It allows people who know little about Mule to create these connectors."

Version 3.1 also adds a new orchestration feature, dubbed "Flow," that enables orchestration of Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud-based applications seamlessly across the enterprise and the cloud.

One of the most interesting upgrades in this release is the Mule ESB Management Console, which includes new capabilities that the company said are inspired by the DevOps movement. "DevOps" is an emerging discipline that addresses the disconnect between what is traditionally considered development activity and what is traditionally considered operations activity. It smooths out the interaction between Dev and Ops within an enterprise to improve efficiencies and increase productivity -- not to mention reduce frustration.

The Mule console supports collaborative deployment, fine-grained access controls and customizable dashboards -- all of which allow cross-functional IT teams to leverage the same Web-based console to deploy, monitor and manage Mule apps. 

"We're not trying to be a DevOps company," said Mahau Ma, the company's vice president of marketing, "but we were inspired by this movement. We keep hearing over and over again that this shift to the cloud and more agile development models is also changing the way people are managing this stuff. We see this wall between development and operations coming down, and we decided from the beginning to target the management console to both sides."

"What we did in this release is to add capabilities around collaborative deployment along with fine-grain access controls," Almenta Reca explained. "For example, a developer can work on an application or service, use the console to debug it, and once they're happy, they store it in a repository that's integrated with the console. And then later an ops person can use the same tool, take the last version from that depository and deploy it. It's about allowing the right people to do the right thing and collaborate."

San Francisco-based MuleSoft was founded in 2006 as MuleSource. The company's core technology, Mule, was developed by company founder, Ross Mason, in 2003. Mule is based on messaging platforms that can be used as an ESB; developers use it to integrate their applications by leveraging the ESBs broad support for protocol transports and application connectors, including HTTP, JMS, Web Services, JDBC, File/FTP, SAP, and, among others.

With more than 1.5 million downloads and a user community of more than 2,500 enterprises, Mule is the world's most widely-used open source ESB. The technology is currently supported by Nokia, Nestle, DHL, Honeywell and five of the world's top 10 banks.

Mule ESB 3.1 is available today for download from

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].